21st May, 2013
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, on Monday identified poor court facilities as one of the hindrances to speedy administration of justice in the country.
The CJN stated this in Ibadan on Monday while inaugurating the new permanent complex of the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division.
She said most Nigerian courts, as in many developing African countries, suffer multiple institutional and infrastructure deficiencies like absence of standard libraries and out-dated legal infrastructure.
“We have excessive case load and back log of appeal cases deriving from the abysmal quality of our court building.
“In this age of advancement in science and technology, I see no reason why there should be no simultaneous improvement in our court facilities.
“The need for court rooms to be well equipped cannot be over emphasised.
“This is a necessary tool for the judiciary to enable it perform its expected constitutional role with all sense of adequacy,” she said.
She added that if courts were to effectively perform their roles of dispute settlement and interpretation of the laws, the requisite infrastructure, expertise and technology required must be above standard.
Muktar recalled with nostalgia the old Court of Appeal building in Iyaganku, Ibadan, where she sat for over eight years as a justice and presiding justice of the court.
“Incidentally, the building was also the residence of the Premier of the old Western region. I am glad at this transformation from antiquity to this ultra-modern complex,” she said.
The acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, commended the administration of former Governor Rasheed Ladoja for allocating the land space for the court.
“The Oyo State Government gave us the land on which this lovely edifice is standing in 2007 and in 2008 funds were released by the Federal Government.
“We pray that those who have cases would leave the court with justice and this should gladden the hearts of Nigerians,” she said.
Governor Isiaka Ajimobi of Oyo State pledged to continue to support the judiciary and to guarantee peace, security and justice in the state.
“To us, the judiciary is gone past the last hope of the common man. It is, even now, the hope of the rich and mighty and in general, that of the entire human race,” he said.
The new complex contains a staff canteen, ultra-modern court hall and gallery, presiding justice conference room and chamber as well as library and ICT room.
News Agency of Nigeria also gathered that a modern recording system for court proceedings would soon replace the long hand system once the equipment was put in place.
The occasion had in attendance Chief Judges of Oyo and Ogun states, past and serving justices of the Court of Appeal as well as justices of the state and Federal High Courts.
Others included Senior Advocates of Nigeria, officials of the Nigerian Bar Association, law students and traditional rulers from Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti and Osun.